We knew it: New health challenges are too complex to be solved by just one player on its own

BY Fernando L. Mompó on 07 / 02 / 2014

Ten of the world’s biggest drug companies — normally the most competitive of rivals — are joining with U.S. health experts in an unusual new effort to develop treatments for major diseases.

The drug companies in the research partnership include France’s Sanofi (a Co-Society Fellow),  Japan’s Takeda, Great Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and seven American firms: AbbVie, Biogen Idec, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck and Pfizer.

The agreement, announced this week, is another important example of the kind of Co-Innovation processes that will become new norm in a proper future.

In Co-Society we started proposing long time ago the benefits of hybridization, the new creativity and value born from different point of views, different markets and cultures, different knowledge, technologies know how and experience, distribution channels, costumer segments, etc. For companies working in the same sector or industry there are important key factors that help to make Co-creation easier: same or similar cultures, professional profiles, vocabulary,…But, on the other hand, there is also a main barrier: they are competitors for the same market.

This is why agreements as the one recently announced by this drug companies will need a very sound Co-  methodology, tools and, most importantly, Co- mindset to succeed. We’ll pay attention to the evolution of this case to learn any possible lesson we could apply to similar processes.

The agreement calls for the group to spend $230 million over the next five years as researchers look for cures for Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and two autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The drug companies collectively have spent billions of dollars over recent years as they search for new drugs, bigger profits and a competitive edge over other drugmakers.

But the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, said the corporate do-it-alone approach has led to a high failure rate in the development of groundbreaking drugs, “while patients and their families wait.” He said it can take drug companies 14 years to develop a new drug at a cost of $1 billion, yet 99 percent of research efforts fail.

Collins also said the drug research “is a job too big for any one of us. So now it’s time to work together”

]U.S. venture gathers 10 drug makers to fight Alzheimer’s, diabetes

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